Monday, October 27, 2014

Illustration Friday - PUPPET

8 x 10 oil on canvas

My daughter got this mask last year in Florence, Italy - the birthplace of Carlo Lorenzini who is the author of Pinocchio.  I did the painting over 3 - 2-hour days, working from a still life set up.  Much different than working from a photo and, for me, easier to keep a looser style.  This painting is serving as an exercise for a larger painting I want to start working on soon.  The largest paintings I've done over the last several years have been 12 x 16 and I'm in the mood to go bigger and hopefully more dramatic.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Illustration Friday - TROUBLE

8 x 10 oil on clayboard

The Illustration Friday word of the week is TROUBLE. I have a couple of projects going on so I didn't really think I had the time to participate this week, but this illustration is one of the projects I was working on.  If you had a carton of eggs on your kitchen counter and baby dragons started hatching out of them, I think you would have some kind of trouble.  I did this illustration to go along with this little guy

who I finished quite some time ago. I'm currently working on two more compositions to make a nice little set for my portfolio. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Illustration Friday - OCTOPUS

The IF word of the week is Octopus. I have Halloween on the brain at this time of year so . . . my contribution is OCTOBERPUS.   I did the original art in watercolor, then enhanced it digitally.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Illustration Friday - SILENCE


This is not me.  My children are grown, and to be honest this was never me - laundry folded, dishes done, dinner simmering on the stove. This is the me I imagined when I was seventeen and still thumbing through bridal magazines choosing gowns and envisioning my 4 carat emerald cut diamond engagement ring.  I didn't even have a boyfriend. 
Maybe this would have been me if I had taken the time to meditate. LOL.  Maybe this would have been me if my children had taken the time to meditate.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Waldo at the Bistro

Waldo at the Bistro
My newest oil painting. 12 x 16 on gesso board.  

     I don't usually like the job of coming up with titles for my paintings, but this title came all of a sudden and naturally.  
    When we were in Italy for my step-daughter Ashley's wedding, I took dozens and dozens of photos to use as reference material. There were a few times that my son intentionally photo bombed my images (much to my amusement) and several times that he ended up in my photos just because he's so darn tall and hard to miss.  When I started looking closely at some of my photos I found him in several reflections on glass etc. (guess he was always close to Mom - isn't that sweet?)  I was nearly finished with this painting and working on tiny details when I finally saw him there in the photo. I originally thought it was a coffee can with Juan Valdez or someone like that, but it was a mirrored surface behind the glass display. There was his handsome face, positioned perfectly. I couldn't not paint him! 

Below is a photo of him, many years ago with his grandparents, dressed as Waldo from the "Where's Waldo?" book series. See why the title was so easy?!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sun Kissed Street in Siena

Sun Kissed Street in Siena
12 x 16 oil on gesso board
     I am very pleased with the way this one turned out. I worked from a photo taken by my son. Funny, a few of us took the same shot but his photo just had these guys at the exact right moment with the exact right exposure. 
     I tried to be a little looser with my paint application and even used a palette knife in some areas.  My step-daughter, Ashley, helped me with the title. Titling pieces is my one of my least favorite parts.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Illustration Friday - METAMORPHOSIS

     When I was brainstorming the idea for this one, I was doodling butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, cocoons, etc. and had the inspiration to mix them up a little.  This is a metamorphosis gone terribly wrong, or maybe beautifully wrong.  The original was a simple sketch in one of my sketchbooks that I wasn't going to take any further but it was so dull in color that I just wanted to digitally tweak it a bit.  I ended up tweaking a lot.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Villa

The Villa
11 x 14 oil on gesso board.

I just finished this piece.  Its the front of a villa right outside of Florence, Italy.  I don't love traveling but I love to be in other places once I've traveled.  (How does one get there without traveling? hmmm.)  My step-daughter's wedding was so beautiful and the trip was truly inspiring.  I've done several mini paintings and I'm currently working on my 5th larger one.  I have quite a few more photos to work from but eventually will run out and will either go back to painting still lifes (which I enjoy doing) or I will have to take another trip somewhere gorgeous.  The world is a beautiful place and with billions of glorious places, people, and things, I should be permanently set up.  The trick is paying attention and I think I'm getting a little better at that.

Monday, August 4, 2014

new logo

I recently did two of these marble logos for myself, they're 5" x 5" oil paintings.  The other I posted a few days ago.  I think this one is my favorite.  I also think I need to do more marble paintings.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Illustration Friday - PEACE

A few weeks ago, I went with a friend to watch an oil painting demonstration by Steven Walker.  He did an entire, beautiful painting in an hour and a half.  I was so inspired that I thought I'd give that a try.

This is what I had after an hour and a half.  I put a bit more time into it today (about 45 minutes) and have the top picture for my contribution to Illustration Friday this week.  Looks like a pretty peaceful place to be.

Friday, August 1, 2014


I have been working on two small marble paintings to possibly use as a logo.  Here's the first.  I'll probably have the second done within the week.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Turtles at Lake Cumberland

I just finished this 8" x 10" oil painting this morning.  It hasn't even dried yet but, it's been so long that I posted a finished piece, I was in a hurry to share it. It would be a lot more visually stunning if it were   4' x 5'  but it's a sweet little memento of a couple of curious turtles that were hanging around our houseboat a couple of weeks ago.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Illustration Friday - SUMMER

 (This image was updated on 5-25-18
acrylic with digital enhancements)

Below is the original. 
It was done in watercolor and acrylic on a piece of 5"x7" clayboard 
with just a bit of digital enhancing.

As with most of my illustrations, after a couple of years I look at it and see where I would like to do things differently. The result is the piece below.

Still not satisfied, I combined both looks and ended up with the first image at the top of the page.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Illustration Friday - RETRO

     A few weeks ago the Illustration Friday word of the week was RETRO.  I was too busy to put any time into it, but I sketched out a quick idea and this week I had the time to finish it. This is done with watercolor, acrylics, and colored pencil on Bristol paper with some digital enhancements.
     I love old-fashioned soda fountains!  Many years ago I was working in Winter Garden, Florida, in a beautiful little downtown Main Street area when, lo and behold, a soda fountain opened up across the street from my job.   The first time I walked in was like walking into the past.  There was even some golden oldies music playing on a radio, specifically "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."  I would treat myself to a chocolate diet coke over there a few times a week after lunch and before long I had five cavities.  That pretty much ended my daily treat routine.  However, at the soda fountain pictured above, the sweets have no calories and they are actually dentist recommended. I think this might be what heaven is like. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Florence Delicacies

12 x 16 oil

I just finished putting the varnish on this one today.  It's ready to go into a show at Maria Stein in a few weeks.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Illustration Friday - TEMPTATION

I'd like to give a shout out to all the good dogs in the world who have refrained (as far as we know) from giving into temptation.  To all the bad dogs who were not quite so strong - we love you anyway.

Sketch done in Painter Essentials.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


This is a pastel of my step-daughter that I had started, and nearly finished, a few years ago.  In honor of her birthday, which was yesterday, and the fact that my theme for the month is flowers, I got it back out and finished it!  Hard to go wrong with such a beautiful young woman. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Illustration Friday - NATURAL

Natural Home Remedies

There are a crazy amount of natural cough and cold remedies and what I sketched up here is just the tip of the iceberg.  I did this on Bristol paper with acrylics, watercolor pencils, markers, gesso, and just a little bit of digital enhancing with the highlights.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Illustration Friday - ZODIAC

The moon is in the seventh house.
Jupiter has aligned with Mars.
Peace is guiding the planets.
Love is steering the stars.
What do we have? 

This is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

Originally I was trying to come up with an idea that contained all of the signs of the zodiac, but I have way too many other things to do.  I'm an Aquarius and so that's what I went with. It was quick and I had fun doing it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hotel Del Coronado

5"x7" oil on clayboard

     In 2012 I was vacationing in San Diego with some family and had the opportunity to visit the Hotel Del Coronado, a beautiful, grand hotel built in 1888.  It is supposedly haunted by the ghost of Kate Morgan, a young woman who in 1892 arrived at the hotel, pregnant and ill.  She gave an alias and told people she was waiting for her husband to arrive. Five days later, however, she was found shot in the head on some steps leading down to the beach.  It was thought to be a suicide but . . . maybe her husband, a rather shady character in fact, had finally come for her.
     We were there on a very foggy morning and the atmosphere, coupled with Kate's story inspired me to write the following:

Beautiful Stranger

     She stares out toward the beach, seeing nothing this morning but pale, soft mist. The sea calls to her as it always does. Her inability to see it today increases its gravity. She turns from the window and crosses to the door, hesitates before leaving the safety of her room, its warmth, and the soft snoring of last night’s companions.
     Taking a deep breath she steps out into the empty corridor. It’s too early for most of the hotel’s guests to be about. She prefers not to be seen anyway, so gathers up her skirt and races quietly down the hall. The door to the stairwell is unlocked and, as she pushes through, the hairs at the back of her neck stand on end. It’s a common sensation she experiences each morning as she makes her way down to the beach. Halfway down the steps she experiences the same sharp pain in her head and the lightbulb, as often happens, goes out. Once she makes it to the bottom she’s fine.
     Outside, the mist is still so thick that the edge of the water is invisible. She follows the sound of the waves until she is completely engulfed in whiteness. It’s disconcerting and would be completely disorienting if she were not able to turn and see the soft glow of the gas lamps, still lit around the hotel, signaling the way home. As long as they remain, she is not lost.
     She walks further toward the surf, and at last sees the water as it rushes up to splash at the hem of her skirt. Taking a few more steps forward, the next wave breaks at her knees and nearly topples her. She stops here. Death looms a few yards out. It’s exhilarating to know that she has that choice. It won’t be today though. 
     She stands here for quite some time. The fog dissipates. She begins to hear voices as the other guests file down to dip their feet in the ocean, morning cups of coffee in hand. She turns toward the hotel. The gas lamps have been turned off.
     Guests she passes on her way back to her room pay her no mind. It’s quite rare for one to acknowledge her. How long has she been tolerating their indifference? She can’t recall. She’s waiting for someone. As the years pass, she's forgetting for whom that is, just as they seem to have forgotten her.
     She returns to her room. Her companions are gone, probably down to breakfast.  She isn’t hungry. She returns to her place at the window, looking out onto the beach.  Waiting for tomorrow.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Personal Space

A few weeks ago my computer was in the shop and the Illustration Friday word of the week was SPACE.  I had this idea and was unable to participate.  Here it is.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Illustration Friday - RED

Due to computer issues and a busy schedule, it's been a few weeks since I've participated in Illustration Friday and I've missed it. The first thing I did, when I saw the topic, was sit down and brainstorm on all of the red things that I could think of.  Red is a very provocative color. It conjures some frightening images and some very lusty ones. There's also happy red images - cherries, watermelon, Valentine's hearts and Rudolph's nose. I chose to stick to the happy side of red (mostly since my interest lies in illustrating for children) and two of the first images I listed were the red tricycle and red velvet. Here they are - together.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


     I did a few small watercolors during the week that my computer was being repaired. Below is the original watercolor (approx. 4" x 7") and above is the image after I had some more fun with it using my Wacom tablet.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Evening on the Arno River

Another larger (18" x 24") oil on canvas that I did because I liked the way the miniature version turned out.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lane at Villa Le Montanine

  12" x 16" oil on gesso board

     I had done a miniature 2" x 3" painting using the same reference photo and I liked the way it looked so I took the plunge and went bigger.  The photo was taken in Italy this past October where my step-daughter got married.  This is the lane leading away from the villa where we all stayed. I don't have a lot of experience with landscapes but look at me go! Haha!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

October in Tuscany

     Here's a 5" x 7" oil painting on clayboard that I finished last week. I took the reference photo as I was strolling around outside Villa Le Montanine. Beautiful property, beautiful time of year, and me trying to wrap my head around the fact that I was in Italy!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Illustration Friday - DISGUISE

My contribution for Illustration Friday -  5" x 7" oil painting that I did a while back.

I also have a little writing exercise that I did to go with it.  I guess I'm used to putting my artwork out there in the world to be viewed.  Its a little scarier putting out the things I write.


     She accepts the inviting looks from the gentlemen gathered here tonight as she dances across the floor. “This is what it feels like to be beautiful,” she thinks. 
     Her dance card is filled with the names of men who have always requested turns on the floor with her sisters and friends.  Tonight, though, she has no equal. She is elegant and well poised.  She moves with grace.  She is an excellent conversationalist and this night . . . even flirtatious.  Men laugh and look at her appreciatively as they whirl her around the floor.  They don’t know with whom they dance.  That is the wonder of it.
    She adjusts the feathers in her hair and the heavy gold material that covers her too large nose, the mole under her left eye that her mother insists is a beauty mark, and her nearly non-existent eyelashes.  The material also covers the girl within her who can usually be found sitting against the wall in deep conversation with her Great Aunt Elizabeth, pretending not to be interested in the dancing and the laughter.  The mask covers her completely.  Tonight she is a princess.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ed's Cottage

This is an 18"x 24" oil painting on gesso board of a beautiful little cottage owned by my friend Ed.
I thought I'd include some of the stages.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Illustration Friday - SEARCH

I was fortunate not to have a child that couldn't live without their pacifier, but my daughter put us through h@#$// a couple of times when we couldn't find her Cow-cow.  Cow-cow was a small stuffed nylon toy that I do believe looked like a cow at some point in its existence.  (It is now a gray rag stuffed into my drawer of sentimental things.)  She would not take a nap or go to bed without it.  I was nearly late for my first day at a new job because I forgot to pack Cow-cow for the babysitter and I did not want to put the babysitter through the horror of my screaming daughter at nap time. 
I think the frantic mother above will find the pacifier shortly.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Caricature practice

I spent some time, a couple of winters ago, trying to learn to do caricatures.  I have always found them fascinating and after a failing miserably in the past, decided to buckle down and give it a good honest attempt.  I did a few that turned out fairly well back then.
It's been a while since I've done one, so I wanted to spend some time practicing again.  Do you know this celebrity?  If so, I'm not doing too badly.  If not, I still have a way to go.

Here are a few from the sketchbook I kept in 2012.

David Duchovny

Cameron Diaz

L.L. Cool J and Rooney Mara

Paul Rudd

And if you didn't know the top guy, it's supposed to be Harry Connick Jr.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Illustration Friday - TIME

     In my misspent youth, I thought I had plenty of time.  I had time to kill and sometimes even too much time on my hands.  As I grew older and (I hope I can safely assume) wiser, I realized that my elders had been correct in warning me that time flies.  There's never enough of it.  
     It does great things like healing all wounds, being a great equalizer, and of course it's money but, it's forever running out.
     Funny how, in my opinion, quality time comes from disregarding time entirely and being present.  Be present.

- Don't count every hour of the day.  Make every hour count. - Author unknown